Homeownership Guide

Couple standing on the sidewalk outside of their Clayton Built home.

Everything you need to know about maintaining your Clayton Built® home.

We’ve come a long way in the last 60 years. In 1956 when we sold our first home, we never could have imagined that they would one day be decked out with smart home technology, built with quality materials in a climate controlled building facility and taking the affordable home industry by storm!

But if you’re here, you may know all about our process and features. Whether you’re on the road to purchasing your first Clayton Built® home or have bought a new home for your growing family, this page can help you with everything that comes with being a homeowner.

A couple holding the key to their new Clayton home

If you’re ready to dive into caring for your off-site built home, you’ll find lots of information here about decorating, cleaning, landscaping and so much more!

Setting up Your Clayton Built® Home

Purchasing and moving into a new home is an exciting, and sometimes difficult process. There are dozens of steps home buyers must take to land their dream home. An important first step in buying a Clayton Built® home is to find a place to put it! Whether it be near the beach, on lakefront property, farmland or another area, there are lots of great locations to put your off-site built home and you get to choose what is best for you and your family! Once you find the right location for your home, you can move on to the next step in the process.

On Site Completion of Construction

By now, you are probably familiar with the home delivery process. While this process is specific to your local home center, location and home type, it generally consists of:

Once your home is all ready for you, you’re on to the next phase—moving!

Couple moving into their new clayton home holding up a Home Sweet Home door mat

Moving into Your New Off-site Built Home

Moving is typically an overwhelming process. For starters, packing unpacking and organizing all while trying to settle into your new home can be a daunting task! Not to mention, if you are moving out of a rental, you may have some things to take care of before you move out. While there is a lot involved in the moving process, it doesn’t have to be stressful.

One way to avoid getting overwhelmed is getting ahead of the game before the big day, and there are a few helpful ways to get ready to move into your new home. The following are optimal ways to stay organized when packing:

  • Create a moving list
  • Decide what to take or part with
  • Gather the correct supplies ahead of time
  • List the large pieces of furniture that need to be loaded onto the truck first, so smaller items can be packed in around them.
  • Label your boxes with duct tape listing the room it belongs to

A couple unboxing items in their new Clayton home

After getting all packed up and making the big move, you may be wondering, “Now what?” Your next step is to unpack and organize your new home. Here are some ways you can organize your life and home by room:

After your home is set up and you’ve settled in, your boxes are unpacked and your pictures are hung, you can move onto more fun things like setting up your yard or decorating your new home! Throw a housewarming party or host a bonfire for all your friends and family to get the grand tour. Be sure to provide food and activities for your guests to enjoy throughout the evening.

Exterior of a Clayton manufactured home with flowers planted in front of it.

Moving or Relocating Your Off-site Built Home

As much as you love your new home, a time may come when a move is necessary. Maybe you outgrew your home with kids or pets, maybe you got your dream job across the country or maybe you found yourself dreaming of life by the ocean.

One of the benefits to owning a Clayton Built® home is you may be able to relocate it depending on its age, condition, and provided it has not been affixed to land. The process of moving a manufactured home, also known as an off-site built home, may be an option when the time comes to make a move.

Another option that may work for you is a home trade-in. This gives you the ability to trade in your current Clayton Built® home toward the purchase of a new one to be placed at your new location! Usually if your home is well maintained and in good shape, the value of your trade-in can usually be applied to your down payment or the overall cost of your new home.* Because the trade in and the purchase of the new home must be transacted at the same retail home center, this option will not work for longer moves.

*The value of your trade is determined by the retailer and is based on several factors including NADA value, condition of the home, costs to move the home, and whether repairs are required.

A couple in the kitchen of their Clayton manufactured home with their dog.

Your Off-site Home Investment

One of the most important aspects of becoming a homeowner is managing the financial responsibility of owning a home. By covering all your bases and staying on top of your finances, your Clayton Built® home can be one of your greatest assets.

A persons hand filling out a form with a calculator beside them

Home Insurance and Taxes

Some of the not-so-fun but important parts of homeownership are making sure that your home is protected and that all your taxes and fees are paid on time and in full.

You might be thinking “what is home insurance?” or “why do I need it?” But home insurance can be one of the most important ongoing purchases you’ll make as a homeowner. Protecting your home in situations of peril and natural disasters is not only a wise decision, but also important for the well-being of your family.

The process of finding the right manufactured home insurance can seem daunting. Start by knowing what to look for in off-site built home insurance. Understanding what a policy covers, things that affect your premium, the benefits of each policy and how to get the best deal will help you to make the best decision for your home and family.

Another important financial factor to consider are the property taxes on off-site built homes. These are taxes paid to your local government, typically used to fund city or county services, will depend on your location, the value of your home and property and whether you own the home and land.

View of a modern style living room with woodbeam ceiling accents looking into a kitchen.

Home Equity and the Value of Your Home

A major benefit to owning your home is the possibility of building equity and good credit as you progress in your mortgage.

So, how do I build equity in an off-site built home? A good place to start is by looking at these things when becoming a homeowner:

Regular maintenance is important to protecting your investment. Here are a few things you can do if you’re trying to build equity in an off-site built home:

As with any investment, it’s a good idea to keep up with where you stand financially over time. Fortunately, you can estimate the value of your off-site built home by calculating the NADA value.

Managing Your Finances

To ensure that you’re protecting your investment as a homeowner, it’s important to keep up with your finances and make smart budgeting decisions.

In order to do so, you need to be sure that you don’t overlook any of the hidden costs of homeownership for first-time buyers that can sometimes come as a surprise. These are things like:

A good way to make sure that you are prepared financially for these things is to sit down with the members of your household and set a budget for your house payment. You can also save yourself some hassle by putting these easy bill paying strategies into place. Scheduling and automating your payments will ensure that you’re always on time and you can avoid pesky late fees and fines.

Track Your Finance With This Monthly Budget Sheet

Once you set your budget and tackle your bill-paying strategy, you can look at other simple ways to save money for you and your family. Follow some of these tips and tricks to create a little wiggle room in your monthly budget:

Maintenance and Upkeep of Your Clayton Built® Home

Homeownership is a lot of work. Landscaping, cleaning, seasonal upkeep, all of these things can add up and help in making a healthier home! But maintaining and keeping up with all the details of your Clayton Built® home just got a little easier. This section will serve as a guide to all things home care related.

A woman planting flowers outside of her Clayton manufactured home

Landscaping

Before buying, I’m sure you found a great location for your home and researched off-site built home site prep in order to get a good idea of what type of landscape you’ll be working with as you settle into your new home.

The first step you’ll need to take for your yard is to look at landscaping right after your home is set up. You’ll want to start repairing your grass from the construction process right away so it can start growing! Then you’ll be able to move onto things like creating your landscape from scratch, working it in around the skirting of your home and deciding what plants to choose!

Landscaping may seem a little intimidating, but there aren’t many differences from landscaping around an on-site built home.

Just like with an on-site built home, you’ll want your landscaping to increase your home’s curb appeal. You can do this by mowing and weeding regularly, planting a few annual plants that will come back bright and colorful every year and adding lighting to your outdoor spaces.

Your yard is a great way to incorporate your personality and style into your home in a unique way. Take the opportunity to add personalized garden and landscaping details. Things like stepping stones, raised garden beds, ponds and waterfalls and this easy and charming driveway entrance can add a unique appeal to your manufactured home.

A man mowing his yard

Outdoor Maintenance

Maintaining the exterior of your home is important for the longevity of your home structure. Many times, homeowners may not think about exterior maintenance until something has come up, like pest issues or mold damage that you can’t initially see. Sometimes the damage is a result of something that has slowly over time turned into an issue. With these exterior maintenance tips, you can prevent damages to your home.

Make it a routine to periodically check your gutters, and keep them cleaned out. While you are checking your gutters, examine your roof for any signs of damage like shingle damage, sagging areas or signs of leaking. You should also take some time to look under the crawl space under your manufactured home and check for any water damage that could cause mold or any pests that might be getting access to your home. As you are checking the crawl space or underneath your home, if you have underpinning, walk around the exterior of your home and examine the underpinning to look for any areas that might need to be repaired.

**We do not recommend checking your gutters, roof or crawl space on your own. All of these jobs can be dangerous. Hire a professional gutter cleaner, roofer or crawl space repair person who is trained to complete these jobs safely. If you must enter a crawl space, never do so without having someone wait for you outside the crawl space who can call for help if you are injured.

CleaningSupplies

Cleaning

Cleaning may be something no homeowner likes to think about. So many rooms, so many cleaning products, so little time.

Our best advice is to make a cleaning plan and tackle it at full speed! Divide your cleaning needs into categories and tackle one per day or week as it fits into your lifestyle.

For example, on Mondays clean all the flooring in your home. Think about what type of flooring you have in each room and prioritize based on the materials! Research the best way to clean the carpets in your home and how to get sparkling, clean laminate floors without leaving a film.

You’ll also want to clean the grout on your tile surfaces, but that doesn’t need to be done quite as often.

Home Car Tips and Tools: How to clean your carpets

Download This Capert Cleaning Checklist

Then on another day of the week, tackle the surfaces of your home. This can include wiping down counters and cook tops and cleaning your kitchen sink based on the material it’s made with.

Then, you can divide and conquer the house by room in order to finish the rest of your cleaning. Work on bathrooms one day, bedrooms the next and so on. Here is a great way to clean out your closet and keep it organized so you don’t have to worry about cleaning closets every week!

Get This Weekly Cleaning Checklist

Finally, you’ll want to clean some of the exterior surfaces of your home, although, this isn’t something that needs to be done on a weekly basis. The outside of your home may seem tricky to clean, but this quick video shows you how to effectively clean the exterior vinyl siding on your manufactured home:

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Home Care Tips and Tools: How to clean vinyl siding

Home Care Tips and Tools: How to pressure wash vinyl siding

Seasonal Upkeep

As seasons change, so does the maintenance required by your off-site built home. Keeping up with all the necessary maintenance that comes with the changing seasons can be a difficult, but this guide is going to break down some home maintenance tips by season.

Gutter with snow and ice

Winter

Winter may be one of the most daunting seasons for homeowners, depending on where you live. The cold weather can bring unwanted burdens like winter gutter damage.

You can prevent these big issues by following these winter and cold weather home maintenance and safety tips:

Winter is also infamous for its vicious effect on your utilities bills. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Here are a few tips for making your home energy efficient this winter.

Finally, once you’ve survived the dreaded winter and spring is in sight, inspect your home in order to assess any damage that may have been caused by the harsh weather.

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Looking for more ways to save money and energy? Check out our Energy Smart Home Package

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potted plants on a porch of a Clayton manufacture home

Spring

As spring approaches and our hands and homes are finally thawing out, we’ve all got one thing on our mind: spring cleaning and decluttering our home. It’s also a great time to think about making décor and design changes in your home. In fact, you can finally start to brighten up your master bathroom for spring and summer!

By the time our closets are cleaned and we’ve packed away our winter coats, it’s time to get our hands dirty in the garden! Even if it’s still a little chilly in your neck of the woods, you can still start to plan for spring and summer gardening.

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with a warm and wet spring season, you can dive right into a few easy and cheap gardening projects!

A little girl eating ice cream on the front porch with her dog

Summer

Just when we start getting comfortable with mild weather, the summer heat starts rolling in. Like winter, this can be a time when our utility bills are stretched as we crank up the A.C. So, it’s important that you make your home energy efficient this summer.

One way to take it easy on your utility bill is to spend lots of time outside. If you can’t beat the heat, embrace it! Get your lawn ready for summer by doing these few things:

  • Mow more
  • Test your soil
  • Buy the right grass
  • Make drought resistance a priority
  • Keep clover

By following these tips, you’ll have a sprinkler and fire-pit ready yard before you know it!

Spend some time creating an area where you can gather with friends and family for a cook-out, curl up with a book on a summer night or catch a few rays during the day. You can add a little ambiance and spruce up your patio or porch with some gorgeous lighting options.

Finally, with all the muddy paws and little feet running in and out all summer, you’re going to want make sure that you are maintaining your carpet.

Don’t let the dog days of summer get you down!

decorative fall pumpkin decor on a coffee table in the livingroom of a manufactured home

Fall

Just like summer time, getting your lawn ready for fall is also important! At the first sight of changing leaves, it may still be a little too soon to stop mowing, so you’ll want to keep up your mowing routine a little longer. You’ll also want to add in leaf raking to your regular yard work. This keeps debris from trapping moisture.

As the nights start getting cooler, your thermostat will have to adjust again and you’ll be looking for ways to save on your utility bill. Shutting off your ceiling fans when you aren’t at home, repairing leaks and replacing air filters are just a few ways to start paring down your utility bills as the temperature changes.

One of the more fun parts of fall (aside from bonfires and endless s’mores) is adjusting your décor based on the season.

You can add some fun, easy exterior fall décor to your Clayton Built® home or tackle a do it yourself project to dress up your patio for fall! Use natural influences and seasonal décor like hay bales, corn stalks and pumpkins to really spice up your home for the season.

If you’re not into seasonal décor as much, you can always spruce up your home by using the changing season to update your paint colors.

General Maintenance and Upkeep

Preventative Measures

The best way to prevent your off-site built home from needing major repairs is to keep up with its regular maintenance. By keeping up with and doing small things like knowing when to change the air filters, how to change the air filters properly and maintaining your hot water heater, you’re more likely to prevent large maintenance nightmares from popping up throughout your home.

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There are a few important things to think about when it comes to maintaining your Clayton Built® home. Generally, you’ll want to master a few repair and maintenance tips like cleaning your floors properly and fixing a leaky faucet.

It’s also a good idea to know the location of important components to your home like your breaker box and water shutoff valves, that way if something happens like an electrical fire or a large leak, you’ll be prepared to locate your water shutoff or breaker box with minimal panic.

Another way to be a pro at caring for your Clayton Built® home is to really understand the features and functions of your home.

  • Is your stove a gas or electric stove and how should you clean it?
  • How many light fixtures are in your home and what kind of bulbs do you need to change them?
  • Where are your smoke detectors and how often should you be changing the batteries?

Understanding these functionalities and maintaining them properly is a great place to start!

Home Care Tips and Tools: How to replace a wallboard

If a problem in your home occurs while your home is still under warranty, you can complete an off-site built home warranty request. If your home is no longer covered under warranty, feel free to reach out to your local home center. Our helpful staff will help you find an expert in your area.

Green Living

Sustainability and leaving the world better than we found it are two important principles here at Clayton. We believe that changing the world starts at home. That’s why we offer some great energy-saving features!

Here are a few easy ways to keep your home environmentally friendly and energy efficient:

Home Care Tips and Tools: Thermostat summer tips to save energy

Home Care Tips and Tools: Thermostat winter tips to save energy

Designing and Decorating Your Clayton Built® Home

Your home is meant to be your sanctuary. One of the most important (and fun!) parts of homeownership is getting to customize and design your home to fit your needs and desires. From decorating to organization, these tips and tricks will help you make every room in your home a place you love to be!

A living room decorated with a rustic style and a brick accent TV wall

Home Design and Décor

Decorating your Clayton Built® home can be a fun and easy way to really add your personality to your home. While some things like adding on to your off-site built home should be avoided or left to professionals, there are lots of great do it yourself ways to improve your home!

A fresh coat of paint is one way to really spice up a room. Typically, choosing light, neutral and clean colors allows for a much better resale value. Look for paint colors in shades of gray, beige or light blues and greens.

One thing that most decorators can agree on is that making your home look larger and using space wisely, especially in areas where space is limited, can really improve your home’s appearance and functionality. Plan your living room layout based on the size and shape of the space. One way to utilize space that is often forgotten is to decorate around your big-screen TV. This can potentially add storage space, and, at the very least, it can make a big impression visually by adding décor that fits your style and home.

A great way to make the design of your home feel cohesive is to find your home decorating style and stick with it throughout your house. From styling a beach house to decorating a farmhouse and everything in between, finding a style that works for you and sprinkling it throughout your home will make it feel seamless.

While decorating, or redecorating, your home might sound like a big, expensive undertaking, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. There are lots of ways to do it on a budget!

  • Yard sales and estate sales for large furniture
  • Recovering upholstered furniture and pillows
  • Local thrift stores
  • Think outside the box

The best part of decorating? It doesn’t have to be all at once. Take your time and find pieces and projects you really love! Creating a home takes time, effort and lots of hot glue!

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Check Out These 7 Design Features You Won’t Forget

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Organized kitchen drawers with utensil separators

Organization

The key to creating a home you love is not only making it beautiful but making it functional as well. What good is a gorgeous, well-decorated home if you can’t find anything you’re looking for? Organizing is a great way to prevent that.

Designing and organizing a functional desk space is a great place to start. Having a place where you can sit down and get to work without being overwhelmed is so important! Getting organized doesn’t always scream “so much fun!” but it certainly doesn’t have to be boring! There are lots of ways to get creative with organizing.

Here is a great series of tips, tricks and organizational fixes for your home:

Decorating and Organizing by Room

One way to approach decorating and organizing is to take it one room at a time. This way, you can look at exactly what needs to be done and tackle it all at once. Then, you get the satisfaction of having a completed room before moving onto the next big project!

The Bathroom

The most important characteristic of a bathroom is that it needs to be functional. You’re probably not going to spend too much time just hanging out in your bathroom!

So first, you’ll want to make sure that you utilize the best storage options to organize your Clayton bathroom. Bathroom safety in your home is also essential. Keeping yourself and your kiddos safe from slips and falls should be a priority when thinking about how you want your bathroom to look and work.

After you get all the functional parts taken care of, then comes the fun part: decorating! Here are a few tips for designing a bathroom that you love!

Living Rooms + Dens

The living room is a space that you will want to put lots of thought into since it’s likely where you’ll be spending a lot of your time! Follow these guidelines to get started with designing your dream space:

  • Think about the layout and make a plan: You’ll want to consider things like the shape and size of the room, what you’ll be using the room for (man cave anyone?) and the furniture you’ll need. Then sketch it out!
  • Think about your budget: Again, decorating and organizing don’t have to break the bank.
  • Do it yourself! Are you sensing a pattern here? Design and décor don’t have to cost tons of money. You can use things that you just have lying around and give them new life. Decorate with jars, fabric, frames and even books! The options are truly endless.

Bedrooms

The bedrooms are another space in your home where you’ll probably spend a pretty good amount of time. For that reason, you want your bedroom to feel like a calm, safe space. Here are a few ways to create the perfect bedroom oasis:

  • Decorate for a cozy, comfy feel: Is there anything better than plopping down at night on a cozy bed, getting under a down comforter and snuggling in with lots of pillows?
  • Choose colors that are calming for better sleep: Surprisingly, color has a lot to do with human psychology. Our brains are wired to feel certain emotions when we experience certain colors. Blues, grays and neutrals are among the colors that work best at getting you a good night’s sleep!
  • Consider flex space: Looking for a way to have a home office or workout space in your home? You can turn a room in your house into a flex space.

Kitchen + Dining

We’ve all heard it said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. Any place where food is prepared and served is a place where people will gather and make memories. You’ll want to think about these things when designing your kitchen:

  • Storage options: The kitchen is probably the room where you’ll need the most storage space. Pots, pans, plates, cups, food and more all need a home in the kitchen. So, finding the right storage is crucial!
  • Kitchen table décor: This is another fun part of decorating your home. You can change your table décor out as little or as often as you’d like. Change it out for seasons and holidays or choose one neutral design to keep all year round!
  • Simple improvements to customize your kitchen: By adding things like unique hardware to drawers, an interesting backsplash or great lighting, you can create a lot of depth and interest within your kitchen and dining space!

A girl running through a water sprinkler outside with her dog

Designing a Child and Pet Friendly Home

Whether you’ve got human kiddos or fur babies or both, it’s important that you make your home an accommodating place for all of them!

Pets

Anyone who has a pet knows that they’re more than just a furry friend, they’re family! It may feel overwhelming to move your pet into a new home, but there are lots of ways to make smaller spaces work and features to make your pets feel right at home.

Kids

From designing a fun and functional place for your kids to play in the living room to pulling the plug and finally getting the bunk beds they’ve been begging for, there are lots of ways to really help your kids feel like they’ve got their own space within your home.

There will probably be lots of firsts in your home, as well. From first steps and birthday parties, to first days of school and learning to drive, your home will play a big role in the memories your child has, so it’s important to make it a place that works for all of you!

While it is important to make your children and pets feel comfortable in their home, it’s even more important to make sure they’re safe. Read more about home safety in the next section.

Magnetic-letter-board-with-the-words-“in-case-of-emergency”.

Safety Tips for Your Clayton Built® Home

One of the most important aspects of your home is safety. Keeping your home and those who live in it safe is a top priority for us at Clayton and should be for you as well.

Child Safety

From pulling up on furniture to dropping things in the toilet, little ones are always getting into something. It’s important to childproof your home and have safety precautions in place to keep them safe.

Pet Safety

Just like our human babies, it’s important to keep our fur babies safe as well! We’ve got you covered from available pet features to completely pet-proofing your home.

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Use This Pet Proofing Checklist

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Emergency Preparedness

Another important part of home safety is one that we don’t always like to think about: disaster and emergency preparedness. From natural disasters to fires and electrical damage, there are lots of things to think about regarding safety as a homeowner.

Natural Disasters

Depending on your location, weather can play a big role in the safety of your home. One way to be prepared for natural disasters like tornados and hurricanes is to find out about your wind zone.

You might be asking, “What is a wind zone?" A wind zone is the rating of the amount of wind pressure a home must be built to withstand. For example, if you purchased a home to be placed in a zone III wind zone, you are in an area with the highest wind speeds and your home was built according to the HUD Code requirements for that wind zone.

No matter where your home is located, you’ll want to take appropriate precautions. Staying up to date on the weather, storing documents appropriately and purchasing adequate home insurance are important when preparing your home for disasters.

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Fire Safety

Clayton Built® homes are built with safety in mind, and we want to work together with you to ensure that you’re safe in case of a fire. Here are a few things you can do for fire prevention and safety.

  • Check your smoke detectors often and change the batteries annually or as often as the manufacturer suggest.
  • Make a plan and run through it with your children and family members often.
  • Prepare multiple first aid and emergency kits in a few places inside and outside your home. (i.e. in your car)
  • Discuss a designated area to meet when evacuating your home.
  • Always be sure to shut off heaters and stoves and blow out candles before going to bed.
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Be Ready With This Disaster Preparedness Checklist

Homeownership is a big adventure and responsibility, and at Clayton we want to make it as easy for you as possible. We know that being a homeowner is different for everyone. Your location, style, family size, needs, wants and dreams all go into creating the perfect home for you and your family. And we are committed to being there every step of the way, from deciding on a home to moving in and beyond.

The Clayton Home Care Guide is a compilation of some of our best tips and tricks from the manufacturers and brands behind every Clayton Built® home. Get yours now!

Home Care Guide

Take care of your home all year long with this easy-to-use seasonal checklist.

Are you ready to find your dream home?
Start shopping now or find a home center in your area to learn more about Clayton Built® home options.

Becoming a Homeowner